Thursday, November 13, 2008

Something is Still in There

Alzheimer’s = A progressive, degenerative disease of the brain that leads to dementia.

Dementia = Deterioration of intellectual faculties, such as memory, concentration, and judgment, resulting from a disease or a disorder of the brain, and often accompanied by emotional disturbance and personality changes.

To me, no matter how medical journals or doctors may define these terms, I define them more like fear, change, loss of who you are…… Until my grandmother was diagnosed several years ago I didn’t know much about this disease and I’m still continuing to learn as I go. From step one it has been something I would rather avoid than deal with but then again, who would.

In our case, my grandmother began hallucinating people and situations but yet she was still very much aware of reality and the sad reality of the situation. It wasn’t until she grabbed her keys and took off in her car (which she hadn’t driven in quite a long time) that I realized the severity of the situation. After we thankfully found her on one of the most terrifying nights of my life, she told my uncle that she had the kids in the car and she was taking them somewhere. Well, of course there was no one in the car.

Inevitably she was placed in an Assisted Living facility and then on to a Nursing Home in the Alzheimer’s wing which is anyone’s worst nightmare when getting old. At first, going to visit was an absolute terror for me. You have a bunch of old people, and in some cases not so old people, walking around or wheeling themselves around that are afraid, babbling incoherently, staring off in to space, the list goes on and on. I had no idea how to deal with the situation but I knew with time I would adjust as best one can.

So now it’s several years later and I HAVE learned to adjust and adapt. I go to visit my grandmother every Sunday morning so it’s become a routine. I’ve come to the point where I realize that you just have to accept the situation and use humor to deal with it. There is nothing you can do to make these people better or to stop their behavior which at some points is clearly uncomfortable so all you can do is have a good laugh about it and move on.

Case in point, there was this very chatty lady that used to live where my Grandmother is. She was very mobile so she would inevitably wander to where you were and talk to no one in particular, just talk, talk, talk. We really hadn’t had too much direct contact with her until she came over and started chatting about her pussy cat. My pussy cat this, my pussy cat that…. Then she asked if I wanted to see her pussy cat. I didn’t even have time to think up an answer before I realized that it wasn’t so much a pussy cat as….well….you can fill in the blank. Thankfully we were on our way out so I just ran down the stairs and out the door! You just have to laugh at something like that.

My grandmother is in some sort of babbling phase where she just says the same things over and over and over BUT, there are some instances where I know, or at least I like to believe that she know me and realizes that I am family and that I love her. There have been several instances when I was leaving or even just chatting with her, where she would just look at me and tell me she was proud of me. Maybe I am just believing what I want to believe, but I truly think there is some part of her still in there…..somewhere. It melts my heart when she says. “I love you” which thankfully she says to us quite often. Those three words mean the world to me. It’s all I have left.

Last night, and again, you have to laugh about it because everyone is COMPLETELY FINE, another patient pulled my grandmother out of bed because she thought it was her room and her bed. So we headed down to the hospital to make sure she really was ok and to keep her company. As we were waiting in the hallway and I was standing next to her bed having a “conversation”, she said she was glad that we were chatting and then followed that with, “I’m so very proud of you.” Well, I almost starting to cry right there in the hall. Again, only a few words that make sense out of hours of gibberish but I truly believe at that moment she knew who I was and why I was there.

Several months ago in the nursing home there was a new nurse that we had not seen before. She stopped my family on the way out and asked us if we were Edie’s relatives. We explained who we were and she was asking us question about Mimi back in the day. She basically nailed spot on the kind of person that she was. It was amazing. Some how out of all that haze, she still somehow remains who she was, and this nurse was able to see it.

After I got home last night from the hospital, I pulled out the letters that my grandmother had written to me while I was away at school. I had kept several of them safely tucked away but had never really looked at them since the day I had put them in the drawer. Since she has been ill for so long now, I feel like I had forgotten who she used to be until I re-read those letters. She was an amazing, smart, caring, witty, beautiful woman who thankfully also happened to be my grandmother. It brought tears to my eyes reading those letters and they are a piece of her that I will keep with me forever.

Sunday I will head back to the nursing home for our weekly visit where inevitably my grandmother will babble on incoherently for hours. I’ll do what I always do which is to try to have some what of a conversation with her. That basically consists of me making up things to say or answers to questions you have no idea what they are. I will wave to my “friend” that I see every week sitting at the same table, hide Mimi’s food and my purse from Alfreda who likes to eat everything in sight, smile at the poor woman who repeats over and over, “God help us” and just wait for those three words to make everything ok. “I love you.”

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I am Soooo Ready for Unemployment

As my current job comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to pay tribute to the cast of characters that have been a part of my every day life for the past 4 months. Some are old friends, many are new, but they all have played a major role in this chapter of my life. And for that, I give you this blog entry.

Before I get to the supporting characters, I would like to quickly talk about one of the main characters of this story – New York City. I have worked in NY for the past 5 years or so and never had much to complain about. From Times Square to Lincoln Center it was always a joy to commute in to work. Then came this job. I have aptly named my foot commute from Port Authority to my building in Chelsea, the trek through Sketchytown NYC. Just to give an example of the joy I experience on any given day, today I was smooched at by a passing truck driver, my nostrils were punished by having to endure the smell of rotting fish while waiting to RUN across the street to get away, I was elbowed and rammed in the back while waiting for the elevator and was sprayed with a healthy amount of concrete. Thanks for kicking my ass today NYC. I can’t wait for the weekend.

Talking about the other main character, that being my current job, would be a waste of time and effort so on to the supporting roles. I’d like to begin with those kind people I share my 45 minute bus ride with every morning. Some are familiar faces and there are a healthy crop of newbies as well. Starting with an oldie but goodie, you have Eyelash lady. Eyelash lady is a middle-aged woman who likes to put her mascara on while the bus is in motion. She seems to have the time to put all the other makeup on in the morning but never that eye makeup. Maybe she loves the thrill of putting that mascara brush right next to her eyeball in a moving rickety bus. Ok, I’ve seen it done before. The kicker with Eyelash lady is what she does AFTER the 20 minute application of the makeup. Wait for it….. And remember she is on a very bumpy moving vehicle going 60 MPH. She whips out a sewing Needle and painstakingly separates EVERY lash. Stay tuned for the inevitable day she stabs herself in the eye. You know I’d have to blog about that bloody tale.

There are quite a lot of celebrities that ride the bus with me as well. Most notably are Paris Hilton, Paige Davis, and the guy who looks like he came out of a GQ ad. Oh wait, I mean the guy who thinks he looks like he came out of a GQ ad. Then there’s probably my favorite bus buddy, another oldie but goodie, Dr. Kovac from ER. A brooding handsome European, this guy is slightly older than the real Dr. Kovac but no less charming. I was melting in the back when he kindly offered assistance to a crazy woman who needed change to get on the bus. Oh, slightly older yet still charming Dr. Kovac look-a-like. How I adore you!

Let us now move on to the characters in the building where I work. I will kindly stay away from anyone I work directly with as you never know when you will meet again. Although for all of them, let’s hope not any time soon. There are quite a few celebrities in my building as well, most notably Betty Boop! Who would have thunk it! Alive and in person with a slightly smaller head. Transporting in our time machine a little further toward present day, we also have one of the members of the B-52s. Who said the Bee-hive hairdo was dead? Skipping ahead to present time, Dr. Lisa Cuddy is one of the newest characters to grace the halls of the office building. Say hello to Dr. House for me!

The most annoying characters at this particular setting in the story are the models. I mean come on ladies! Is there a better way to feel like a fat ugly slob than to be in a small elevator with 15 models whose legs are as tall as you are???? I think not! Every other day there is some kind of casting call across the hall. (Excuse the annoying rhyme.) I vote that the next commercial or ad they cast for, is an ad for incontinence. That sure would make me feel better.

Last but not least, we can’t forget about the charming people I get to see on a regular basis on my stroll through Sketchytown. Protecting and serving you have the always sweaty Dudley Do Right. We pass each other by the rail yards and every day I look in amazement at the fact that this lovely little man is a cop. I try to look more closely at his uniform to see if perhaps somewhere it says the word Library above the word Cop. Cause truthfully, that I would buy. Further down the route, you have The Professor. An oddly dressed scholarly looking fellow that looks strongly like Kevin Kline in the film In & Out but with more Gray hair and shorter pants. Generally, the last character I encounter on my way To work, is a lovely man named Buddha Belly. Buddha Belly was so named because one morning he was standing on the corner in front of the deli as he does every day, but he had his shirt rolled up and was rubbing his belly like you would rub the Buddha for good luck. He was hence forth called Buddha Belly. Buddha Belly hangs on the corner and babbles to himself and to passersby every morning. This is why I walk an extra block or two out of the way. I don’t have time to be roped in to a riveting intellectual conversation that early in the morning. And by early I mean 9:30.

I would like to conclude this entry with the final and most controversial character of the story. Of course I am talking about Mr. Shovel. If you are an avid follower of this blog, and who isn’t, you know all about Mr. Shovel. Thankfully, I think my one encounter with this kind gentleman is all I’m gonna get. I wonder whatever happened to him? I think of him every time I enter shovel territory.

Needless the say, I truly will miss journeying through Sketchytown NYC and my celebrity friends on the bus. With my luck however, I will be back there in no time. Um….help! Let’s hope for a less painful, less smelly, concrete free day tomorrow. I live for Fridays!!!!

Good Night and Happy Commuting.

Jill E.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And You Wonder Why I’m Single.

This blog is not to bash men in anyway so please don’t take offense if you happen to be of the male persuasion. I know there are some amazing men out there but this is not about them. And I know what I am about to complain about can also apply to some women but today it’s all about the guys. Now that I’ve covered my ass we can begin.

I need to let off some steam about those guys that think it’s ok to be a disgusting touchy feely perv even though they are in the presence of their wife (and similar guys). I mean let’s have a collective “Ew”. Especially when said guy is like 30 years older than you.

First off, I love hugging. I’m a hugger by nature but that’s really where I draw the line. I really don’t like people invading my personal space. Perhaps I should walk around with a sign that says, “Stay out of my circle of personal space or be kicked.” Or I could always walk around with a hula-hoop to keep unwanted people away. Although that might make getting around rather tricky. Generally I’ve learned that other countries aren’t as concerned about their own personal space and hence don’t care if they invade yours but, that’s their culture and I’m not here to judge them.

Anyway, a hug or a handshake or a hello from across the room will suffice when greeting someone that you aren’t really close to. I really don’t even like speaking to people I don’t really know. I barely speak at family functions where there are too many strangers around or even if it’s just the family. And that’s saying a lot about my comfort level since normally you can’t shut me up. There is no need, I repeat no need and no circumstance where a kiss on the lips is appropriate for a non-boyfriend/non-friend/non-close family member. Eww, eew, eew. Did I mention ew? Not cool.

Also, when did it become ok for someone to just touch you??? Even if it’s my hands that you are touching, that’s a no no. It’s not ok. Don’t touch me. And please feel free to tell me it’s just me but I don’t think it’s really appropriate to constantly look at one’s cleavage and follow that up with another Unwanted hug, then tell you in front of their wife that, Ooo you have soft skin. Bleh!

Listen, I’ve dealt with some creeps in my day, most of which are much older than me, but I really hate putting up with this kind of behavior. If you go to a club or a bar it’s expected that drunk guys will feel you up. I don’t like it but I get it. Plus they are your age so it’s not creepy, just annoying. But in a non-alcohol family setting, what the hell? Sometimes I wish I would grow a set of Cajones so I could just tell these people what I really think. But for now writing this little blog will have to do.

Protect Your Bubble of Personal Space.

Jill E.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Think It’s Time To Get Outta Dodge…..But I Won’t


The frequency of the blogs has significantly died down due to utter exhaustion for no reason. I actually had inspiration and things to write about recently and would have fought through the non-existent mono but all I had to write about were horribly depressing topics and I was trying to lighten the mood after the last entry. I still have nothing jolly to write about but I think this babbling will be more ridiculous than sad.

Recently I have been pondering how disgusting and angry the city can be which I believe has filtered out to the Garden State as well. I think it first started after I returned from good ‘ole AC. I was walking down the broken glass filled, poop covered sidewalk to work, along the absolutely disgusting Hudson River, all the while imaging how less than 24 hours prior I was walking down the boardwalk at the beach. Hmmm, Atlantic Ocean – Hudson River – you pick.

Soon after, walking to work again through what I have termed Sketchytown, I see police tape in front of Chelsea Park. Thinking perhaps it had something to do with the Ugly Betty taping a few nights before I thought nothing of it until I got to work to find out an off duty cop was stabbed after leaving a club in the early morning. Ok, well we know how those clubs can be. Understandable circumstance. Well not really but not surprising either. Later that day as I am walking home past a children’s playground I see more police tape and a shit load of detectives and beat cops talking about witnesses blah blah blah. My investigative mind figured that the assailant from the cop stabbing had dropped a piece of evidence while escaping through the park and that’s what all the hullabaloo was about. It wasn’t until weeks later when I was given a flyer from a cop that I realized there was a shooting/robbery in the children’s playground that same day at 6:15pm! Lovely isn’t it. Perfect place for a shooting. Now I’m really thinking Atlanta looks appealing.

Shoot to today. And what a day it was. It was a rather nice walk to work. Only one crazy tried to talk to me but as usual I smiled and kept walking. With storms looming I was glad to be inside. Darkness was moving over the city but my computer was frozen so I was pre-occupied with that until I heard, “Oh my God”. Something I have heard WAY too often at this damn job. (see previous entries) I look to the right and everyone is looking out the windows. I see nothing so I shift my focus back to my computer which is just getting worse and worse. Still trying to get my computer to work I am distracted by a voice again saying, “Oh my God”. Followed by another saying, “It looked like it hit that building.” Well we all know what was going through my insane brain. Turns out lighting had apparently struck one of the construction cranes but all seemed ok. Within a few minutes the city became enveloped by a thick fog that caused a complete white out or gray out in this case. We couldn’t see ANYTHING out the windows.

The rest of the day cleared up and went smoothly until I started my trek home. I made it safely through Sketchytown and was blocks away from the PA when I apparently failed at being a caring and concerned human being. Remember what happened in the last episode of Seinfeld??? Maybe that will give you a clue. Walking down the sidewalk, again weaving through the crazies, I had my headphones on and was singing along in my head when I saw a man with intent in his eyes lift an aluminum shovel above his head. I saw this happening and said nothing. Mind you I don’t even like to yell B-I-N-G-O when I’ve won (Donna can confirm this to be true) so I wasn’t about to yell “GET DOWN”. Within a few seconds which seemed like 10 minutes, the man swung the shovel whacking this other guy in the head. It was like in slow motion and I fully expected to see this guy out of the ground with a massive head wound but by some miracle he was fine just really pissed and who could blame him. I was actually surprised that this guy and his group of friends didn’t kill this, I guess homeless man. They just started cursing at him and trying to get the shovel. I have to say if someone hit me with a shovel I don’t think I would be so nice. That is, if I could even get myself up to be angry. As I walked in to the street to get away and to hurry to make my bus, I noticed all the on-lookers just watching this happen. Could I have been the only one that saw this happen? Someone else could have yelled BINGO, I mean Get Down. I left there pissed at myself for not stepping in. It didn’t really even seem that strange to me. I get more upset when people are yelling and cursing at each other than I get when witnessing someone get whacked with a shovel. Go figure.

I think you become immune to some of the violence and somewhat angry and violent yourself. It’s contagious. I am the kind of person that feels bad when I kill a bug but sometimes I would like to hit someone with a shovel myself. Just the other day I was wishing I had a shovel at Kohl’s. Two adult women pissed me off big time and I thought how great it would be if I could just punch them in the face. Then they wouldn’t do that anymore. I would never actually do that but I was thinking about it! This place is crazy and I think I need to move to a farm. Anyone wanna come?

Well, tomorrow is another day. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get rainbows. Well maybe smoke and pollution forming what looks like a rainbow.

Beware of shovels!

Jill E.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fear

“to be afraid or feel anxious or apprehensive about a possible or probable situation or event”


I have no idea what makes some people more afraid than others but everyone suffers from a fear or fears of something. For me, fear has always been at the forefront of my life though I try my best to hide it from everyone around me. I had plenty of crazy fears as a child and one could only hope they would disappear or lessen in intensity with age but that does not seem to be the case with me.

Just recently some of these fears have intensified and as irrational as I know I am being I can’t seem to kick them and they have seeped into my dreams as well. It’s bad enough to live with fear during the day but when it interrupts your sleep it becomes all consuming and really quite annoying. It’s especially bothersome when you have a nightmare where Robin Williams is sticking his face in your chest insisting that you give him your phone number. It may not sound so scary but trust me when I say you don’t wanna have that dream tonight.

Death has always been probably my number one fear and it seems to get worse with age. I guess that makes sense as every day I am one day closer to my inevitable demise. My imagination does not help the situation as I create vivid realistic scenarios in my head when faced with situations that make me uncomfortable. It would take a whole blog series in itself to explain the various scenarios I have created and for what situations but I will just touch briefly on my most recent nightmares and heart racing situations.

Terrorism. Seven years later I seem to have brought all the thoughts and feelings and fears of that time back. Perhaps it’s because one of the TV shows I have been watching revolves around the Oklahoma City bombing. Maybe it’s because of the fire alarm that went off at work followed by Miss I Can’t Handle a Crisis making an announcement to go to the nearest exit with absolute terror in her voice, followed by us walking down 13 flights of stairs trying to escape an unknown “enemy”. Possibly it’s all the explosions I hear every day at work with the construction site across the street blasting 2-3 times a day. Or maybe it’s because of that day when it sounded like a huge plane was headed towards the windows only to see actual planes (in NYC) fly right passed the windows as part of some stupid air show. Or it could be all these damn movies/TV shows about terrorists. Really, who knows?

After one particularly horrid nightmare involving hundreds of planes in the sky dive-bombing everywhere whilst trying to avoid being hit by US missiles, I got on the bus only to have a driver of a certain ethnicity. Oh that was NOT what I needed that morning. Of course the whole ride, as has happened many times in the past, I really believed once we hit that tunnel that was it for me.

It’s not as if I think about this stuff all the time or dwell on it, it just hits me when in certain situations and I don’t know how to rationalize my feelings and fears. Although really, how irrational are they? I don’t think anyone who dies really thought it was gonna happen that day or in that manner. It makes you wonder though if you are crazy. Are you the only one that thinks about things like this? I wasn’t even in the city that day in September but I have dreams sometimes that really make me feel as if I have been through something just as horrific.

My goal from this point on, is to find a way to try and be at peace with at least some of these fears. Don’t know how I’m gonna do it, but baby steps will hopefully get me there. Perhaps I’ll try one fear at a time starting with the smallest and most irrational. Although heavens there are so many! Honestly, if I listed all the things that scare me I’d be up all night.

I think before I hit the sack tonight I’ll watch some cartoons or the Best of Will Ferrell to ensure I have happy dreams. No Robin Williams in my head tonight!

Wishing everyone else sweet dreams.

Jill E.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It Seems Assuming Really Does Make an Ass Out of You and Me – Well, Me Anyway

Back in 2000 I purchased a used Saturn. Well my parents purchased it for me but those little details are irrelevant. And if you want to be particular, my grandmother who had just passed away actually bought me the car as it was her money. Anyway, I remember at the time we were concerned about a small chip in the windshield. They kindly informed us that the service department sandblasted it and that the windshield therefore did not need to be replaced. Ok, well they sandblasted it at least. They seemed to care and did a thorough job of cleaning the car up and fixing any problems before I drove the car back to my humble abode. Quite a pleasant experience I must say.

That car was actually three years old when I took ownership but since it was given a thorough tune-up, all was well and I kept that lovely green automobile for the next 8 years. Eventually, after ten trips down to the Sunshine state and over 100,000 miles it was time to say goodbye to Meg. That’s the name I gave my car but soon regretted. Anyway, I said goodbye to Meg back in March and traded her in for a whole $400. I had been through so much with her and I just sold her for 400 bucks like a prostitute. It wasn’t easy since I knew she would be heading for the chop shop but you gotta do what you gotta do. Sorry Meg.

I had wanted initially to purchase a brand new car which I could really call my own. However, financially it seemed best to go with a slightly used car. I found one on the dealer website that was the model and color I had been searching for and it was only a year old. What a steal – or so I thought. Against my will, I took it for a test drive and all seemed well. I bought it and as soon as I got home the trouble began. First off, they had forgotten to engrave the window which is a security measure that I happened to pay an additional $800 for. You better damn well etch my windows. We had to drive immediately back to have it done. Actually, prior to this I noticed I was having trouble moving the passenger side mirror but that magically fixed itself. Problem averted.

Next up, after about a week of having this new, as of yet unnamed car, I noticed that the wiper blades are completely useless. The one on the driver’s side leaves three huge smears right in the line of sight. Great. So glad I can see in the rain while doing 70 miles per hour on the highway in the dark. My mother happened to run into someone who worked at the dealership and he informed her that they never replace wipers on the used cars before selling them but they would happily put them on if I bought them there. Uh duh! Really?

So today I go for my first oil change and also inform the service manager that I would like new wiper blades since it seems mine are both pieces of shit that they never felt the need to replace before selling me the car. Well, I didn’t say all of that but he said ok, that will be another $40. Ugh! I take a seat in their nowhere near as nice as Saturn waiting area where a certain someone happened to be on TV. Thank goodness everyone else left and I was able to change the channel. Conjuring up bad memories while already in an annoyed state would not have been a good idea. Especially since my mood was about to get progressively worse.

As is everyone sitting in the waiting area’s worst nightmare, the service guy came over to talk to me. He told me that my tires were wearing down and I am in dire need of a tire rotation and alignment. All I could think of was that fact that I had only driven the car for 3 months. How could I possibly have worn down the tires so much? Turns out they don’t do any tire maintenance before selling you a car either. Another $20 added to the growing total.

Sitting and growing angry, the man comes to talk to me again. He now informs me that my brake pads are literally almost gone and it is crucial that they be replaced now. I tell him to hold off and he says I can’t because they are just that bad. Again, here I was thinking I had been driving around for all of 3 months. How could I have worn down my pads in 3 months? Growing in anger, the next time he came back (to try to get me to buy ridiculous car accessories mind you) I asked him the question that was burning a hole in my head. So I guess you guys don’t fix or replace ANY of the wear parts before you sell these cars to people? He basically told me that as long as they pass inspection, everything is butterflies and rainbows. Even if the parts are nearing disaster but are deemed ok, they will sell you the car and the buyer is never the wiser UNTIL you go for service. Fan-F-ing-tastic!

It only got better when he told me I was due for my 30,000 mile service which costs $525. I left there angry and bitter and wishing I had gotten a brand new car, not from that dealer. I had assumed that like Saturn, although I was purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, it would at least have been thoroughly checked out and all the little wear parts would have been replaced. What an ass I am. Never again. I learned my lesson.

To anyone out there buying a used car, ask ask ask lots of questions before you sign that not-so-dotted line. Buying a slightly used car may end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

Signing Off Angry and Bitter,

Jill E.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Forty-Seven Square Miles of Magic

"When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” - WD

Had I been alive October 1st, 1971, my life would no doubt have changed that day. What you ask could have been so important? What life changing event happened on that October day back in 1971? Well, the Magic Kingdom opened at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL of course. Yes I know, Disneyland opened before that, but being from the east coast, I am a Disneyworld girl all the way. It’s crazy really how a rodent can consume your life.

For me, it all started in 1984. First trip to Disney with the family.

Since I was only 4, all I really remember was being TERRIFIED by a man pretending to be a robot. Please, men are scary enough. We stayed at the Polynesian which is a fantastic hotel right on the lagoon a hop, skip, and a monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom. In the decade to come, I made two more visits with the family which were thoroughly magical and soon after, a trip with my best friend and her family right after we graduated High School. The trip was equivalent to a much needed getting out of jail present. Yeah, that’s how much I liked High School.

Although I had developed a love for all things Disney, I really don’t think I truly felt the magic until I hit my 20’s. The older I get, the more I love the mouse. It’s insatiable. I need more Mickey! As soon as I pass through those Disney Gates I revert back to being 6 years old. I’m serious. And as you can see, not much has changed over the years.
It has been almost a year to the day since I have been through those Disney gates and it’s like a tiny piece of me is gone. There is a sad empty place in my heart. To ease the pain, I watched a vacation planning DVD today that came in the mail. The cheese factor was way high but I think I shed a tear watching it. Who wouldn’t want to spend their evening learning about Disney’s four theme parks; two water parks; 32 resort hotels (22 owned and operated by Walt Disney World); 99 holes of golf on six courses; two full-service spas; Disney's Wedding Pavilion; Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex; and Downtown Disney, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex encompassing the Marketplace, Pleasure Island and West Side. Wow! That may actually be too much excitement for one night!

Perhaps to the shock of many, I’ve even made several trips to the parks alone. The best was when Millionaire trekked down there (for what would be the last time). I was only working one day so I used everyone else’s passes and my friend’s hotel room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and wandered to all of the parks for FREE! It was all well and good until I got to the front of Peter Pan and they asked how many. I have to admit, I felt quite loser like having to say “Just one”. Who rides Peter Pan alone? I guess I do! That was the trip we got to ride Expedition Everest before it opened - - 3 times in a row actually. Despite almost puking from the continuous riding, it was one of my best Disney memories! That’s Kayla and me before the puking sensation set in.

Last year I had a power trip planned – 4 parks in 2 days. Being alone definitely made it easier to achieve my goals. I knew what I wanted to hit and made it happen. Sadly, the haunted mansion was closed, but thanks to the DVD I watched today, I learned it was closed due to renovations. My cousin, goddaughter and I went to the park one day too and for the first time in YEARS, went to a character breakfast. Can you say excited? First of all it was a breakfast buffet – HEAVEN!!!! And secondly, the characters would come over to each table and take pictures with the guests! Mickey Mouse came to my table!!!! Twice I might add. I really do think we make a great couple. And check out the food. Yum! Mickey waffles, cheesy eggs, cinnamon buns, and the real Mickey. Really, how can life get any better?

I blame my parents for this. It’s really their fault as they love the mouse whole heartedly as I do. In my present situation it looks like much more time will pass before I get to see Mickey again. But, in the meantime, I still have my DVD and plenty of Disney mementos to keep me happy. Perhaps after I finish this entry I will pop in my Disney Theme park music CD, put on my anniversary Mickey Ears, and close my eyes pretending I’m really there. Nothing beats that Splash Mountain music!

To all the fellow Disney lovers out there, have a magical night!

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – WD

Jill E.


video

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It’s a False Alarm……or not

Life if full of false alarms. False labor pains, false positives, false election results….. They are all around us. The false alarm I am referring to today is the alarm in the form of flashing lights and really really loud beeping sometimes followed by a recorded voice telling you to move to the nearest exit…actual alarms. I bet you 90% of people that hear an alarm don’t think anything of it, except for me of course. Yeah I am a panicker but it’s not without reason and experience. If the alarm is telling me to get out, I am gonna get the hell out!

The other day at work the fire alarm went off. Ok. I looked around and everyone was plugging away at their work. No one seemed to care except for you know who. As it continued, people eventually began to question what was going on but no one got up to leave. UNTIL that is, a panicked voice gets on the speaker and tells everyone to walk to the nearest fire exit and await further instructions. Oh boy! I am panicking but trying not to show it. What the hell could this be? Three possibilities ran through my head. Yes my imagination is a little out of control. Yes I tend to panic over nothing. But these three possible options are not that unrealistic. I have first hand experience so give me a few courage points here.

Possibility #1, fire.

Let's travel back in time to 2001…..I think. I was living in PA in a lovely apartment with perhaps not the loveliest of neighbors. Unless you count nightly police presence due to drugs and domestic violence lovely. I was usually home alone as my roommate was a swimmer and often out of town at meets. It was a regular occurrence that the fire alarm would go off and beep incessantly. Usually we would just chalk it up to a bad battery and go to bed. One night, as I was of course home alone, the alarm went off again. It seemed to go on much longer than normal so I ventured out in to the hallway. After seeing smoke come out from under the door I realized that this is indeed not a false alarm. Another neighbor kicked the door in and removed the burning pot that was left on the stove. After Fire guys (excuse me, fire people) pumped out the smoke, I was able to return to my undamaged apartment.

Now let’s move up the time line a few months. I am home alone eating ice cream in my PJ’s. Did I mention it was 9 o’clock? The alarm goes off again. After the last time I was pissed so I headed back to the hallway to investigate only to find the hallway filled with smoke. Super! I ran back in to my apartment to call 9-1-1. The lady on the phone could not have been anymore disinterested. I can’t express the lack of concern in her voice in words, but damn honey, my building is on fire. Have a little compassion and sense of urgency. I grabbed my purse and headed (in my PJ’s) out into the dark rainy night to watch my life burn from the parking lot. I did have a kind invitation to stay at someone’s house from a neighbor on the other side of the fence. Um, no thank you! Long story short, the apartment to blame (same one as last time), which happened to be Right across the hall from mine, lost EVRYTHING. Walking in to the hallway that wasn’t, we attempted successfully to get to my apartment with a fireman escort and flashlights in tow. Opening the scortched door was like heaven as it was white and beautiful inside although it smelled more like hell I would imagine. So, again, not a false alarm.

Possibility #2, crazy person with a gun.

We have to travel a little further back for this one to 1990something or other when I was in HS. I live in NJ. Not in a city area and where I went to High School the population was probably 500. Not really that small but it is a teeny tiny, no one leaves here kind of town. It was the start of the school day in homeroom when we are cryptically told to remain in the classroom. No one was allowed to leave including the teachers until given further instruction. Ok. Obviously not a fire. I mean I hope they are smart enough in this tiny town to evacuate the students in the case of a fire. What does that leave? I really had no idea. Turns out someone had eluded capture or prison or something and had taken up in the house across the street. There were apparently armed men on the roof!

Not too much later in that same small town I was working in a deli when I saw armed men out the window charging down the street. It was like a joke. The funnier part was all the people going outside to check it out. Really? I was taught to run from danger. Again, I guess it’s just me. I am the crazy one.

Possibility #3, I don’t really need to go there, especially since we are talking about New York City. Obviously that is still a possibility.

So back to this past week. As we all gather in the hallway wondering what the hell is going on the voice comes back in a panic. Apparently someone missed the how to handle a crisis seminar! I really don’t think you are supposed to let on how panicked you are to an entire building of people. Remain calm bitch, that’s what I would have liked to tell her. She freaked me the hell out. Our instructions we were awaiting never came so we proceeded down the 13 flights of stairs. All the while I am thinking we are gonna be trapped between 2 burning floors just at the same time the gunman arrives in our stairwell trying to flee. Thankfully I made it down just to find out a construction worker accidentally hit the alarm. Super. Thanks. I mean I could use the exercise but….

I was in the torture room at Ripley’s last summer when the alarm went off. NO one cared. I wanted to get the hell out but amidst the torture devices were a bunch of deaf tourists that didn’t hear the alarm. Employees were running around with walkie talkies and still no response. Well we stayed and like the other day it was indeed another false alarm.

To get to the point, amidst the many false alarms that come our way, there is always a positive somewhere in the crowd. You have to remain alert and aware and not take things and situations for granted. You may gamble and lose.

Be Safe.

Incessant worrier,

Jill E.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hopefully It’s Just a Detour


Senior year in High School. As if high school itself doesn’t suck enough, it’s also the time you are supposed to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. You have one year to decide what the next 50 years ahead will look like. Of course you can always go in to college undecided but sooner or later they will force you to pick something, unless you feel like racking up thousands more in loans by staying in school another year or two or three. Most people you talk to aren’t on the career path they intended anyway.

I had always been in to the arts. I started dancing at age 3 or 4 and performing at competitions, I sang in the choir, I played the flute and attempted the trombone, I was always in plays, was on my HS radio (as pathetic as it was), and loved theatre most of all. I had intended to enter college for theatre management but allowed myself to be talked out of it. So instead, I chose the next best thing, television production. After attending my first taping of Late Night with Conan O’Brien I was sure I wanted to be a Stage Manager although I honestly had no idea what that entailed. Maybe I thought it just looked cool.

So I entered college as a Comm major with a concentration in TV and Radio. Sounded fun. And it was. With the exception of all the bull shit classes they make you take like Statistics and Geology, most of my core classes were rather fun. Watching classic films, learning about Irish cinema, making ridiculous radio commercials, and running around the school parking lot at night with fake guns and blood pretending to be Steven Spielberg. Didn’t think it got much better than that.

Senior year came quickly and it was time for a taste of the real world. And by real world I mean stepping away from the classroom and text books, and getting to see what TV and radio are really like in the form of Internships. My first one was in radio at Radio Disney. I was lovin’ it because my first week I got to go to a Devils game. I mean c’mon. This is gonna be great. I quickly realized however, that radio is probably made up of 90% sales and marketing. Plus, radio is not like it used to be back in the day. It’s so computerized now. I went on a bunch of on-site events but they were a nightmare to me – dealing with all those crazy parents. Thankfully I never had to get on the mic. That truly would have been a disaster.

Along with that internship was the one day a week at Extra. That seemed like it would be pretty cool. I’d get to go on some shoots and learn a lot from the producers and crew. So wrong on that one. I would arrive at the Extra offices at 8:30am per their request. No problem, except no one would speak to me until after 9 when the phone call from LA would come in. (Actually, no one really spoke to me even after 9am). After that they would inevitably stick me with the editor to watch him endlessly edit until a shoot came along where I would tag along and do NOTHING. Going on shoots was sometimes fun. My first day I went on a Victoria Secret photo shoot with Heidi Klum. I met some cool people yeah but learned NOTHING.

Now I am getting a little frustrated and perhaps wondering really what a career in the entertainment field would be like. Last up in college is the senior seminar where you make your last big project. We had fun writing, directing, acting in, and editing our little documentary – sure. It wasn’t until one of the very last seminar classes that I really began to second guess myself and this whole TV thing. We had a speaker that really just scared the hell out of me. The only point I actually remember her making was that TV/Film is all about sacrifice and living on beans and water. Wow – the text book didn’t say anything about that. About how unstable the industry is, how shitty the pay is and the treatment is when you just start out, and how if you don’t kiss some serious ass you most likely won’t succeed. What a wake up call.

After graduating, my first TV job was a non-paying one on a Children’s candid camera show. Welcome to the real world. Six days a week I would trek in to the office, pack up the van with cameras, props, audio, coolers, and fake trees and head to some god awful location somewhere in Manhattan. The day would basically go like this…..pack van, drive to location, unpack, carry heavy equipment really far, piss off NYers walking by, ask those pissed off people to give me permission to air them being humiliated, re-carry, re-pack, unload, and head home tired and broken.

The next job in TV I had came a few years later which led to the next and the next and finally to the last long-term TV job I had which ruined me and made me an angry bitter person. I really truly found out how unless you kiss ass all day and be little miss “whatever you want”, it is really really hard to move up. And people will LIE many times to your face and not give a damn about it. The EP was the only one that gave me hope. She was the first genuinely nice person I met that made it that far without sacrifices herself or her soul. So after a year and 3 months of that job I decided to give it up and get a real job. I just don’t love it enough to put up with it and clearly I am not the right kind of person for that field.

I got a taste of what I had been missing when by a fluke my aunt called to let me know her company needed a temp for a few weeks. Well that few weeks turned in to 4 months and I only wish it could have been even longer (damn stocks!). I realized that this whole bloody time I could have had a life, not working 8am-who knows when. I always saw myself married at 26 (well that’s what the psychic in New Hope told me anyway), hopefully with some kids soon after. I feel like I have wasted my life heading down a path that clearly was not meant for me.

I hope that this was only a small detour in my life and happiness and stability are not too far down the road. I see my friends from High School getting married, having babies, buying houses…… that’s what I want. If I had chosen a different direction to head all those years ago, who knows what my life would look like now. Don’t get me wrong though. I have met some amazing people along the way and have some great memories. But they aren’t any memories that impact anyone but me. I would love to make a difference in the world and to people other than myself. I want to make someone proud. I know there are millions of people in this world far worse off than me so I probably have no right to complain and I should be happy and grateful that I have an amazing family to support me.

Here’s to hoping the next 10 years will bring all that I have been seeking.

Jill E.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Apparently I Repel Giraffes






Who doesn’t love a giraffe? They’re tall, uh…..well they are certainly tall. Well I don’t know exactly why I fell in love with giraffes but there you have it. This sad tale I am about to tell chronicles my several attempts to come up close and personal with a giraffe. Based on the title of this entry one can deduce that the happy Jill-Giraffe meeting has still yet to happen. I know many of you are thinking, but wait, you’ve gone through the safari at Great Adventure, surely you have seen a giraffe? Well yes. But I don’t count driving passed a herd of giraffes a personal encounter. It’s more a case of trying not to hit them or have them bump their ass into your car. I’ve had several camels give me the bump and it’s not enjoyable my friends.

In 2003 I ventured with my cousin to the Animal Kingdom Lodge in magical Walt Disney World. We wandered around inside and then headed outside to check out the animals. People who stay in the AK Lodge always talk about how the giraffes come right up to their windows. They wake up and BAM, there’s a giraffe just hanging out. So I thought, yes, I am gonna get to see a giraffe. As evidenced in picture 1 above, I did have a lovely time with some zebras. Sad giraffe experience #1, the next picture is as close as they were getting. Oh well. There’s always a next time.

Cut to 2006. This is gonna be the year of the giraffe. At the end of ’05 I watched the most fabulous and tragic giraffe documentary. Only a few months later I was off to Florida again where I would be visiting a zoo where you can FEED THE GIRAFFES, I would be staying IN the AK Lodge, and I would be venturing to the Animal Kingdom Park. Three opportunities to meet a giraffe, what could possibly go wrong?

Opportunity 1, we head to the Brevard Zoo to feed giraffes!!!! We got right up to the giraffe area where there were ZERO giraffes. The kind lady (although I was cursing her out big time in my head) informed us that the giraffes were scared away by sirens on the street and would probably not be returning. Wanting to cry, my cousin let me know that we were gonna take a train ride and you could see the giraffes from the train. Yeah, as you can guess, no giraffes.

Ok, so I am gonna be staying at the AK Lodge. Of course the room I was staying in with my friend was by the pool and NOT by the animals. I guess there will not be a morning tea with the giraffes on this visit. All I got was the next picture above. Giraffes chillin’ a mile away with no intention of headin’ my way. So let’s try the park. I did the Safari ride in the morning like they recommend but alas, no giraffes anywhere near our vehicle. 3 Strikes I’m out on this trip.

So now we shoot to 2007. One more visit to the Brevard Zoo and one more trip to the Animal Kingdom. This trip is golden. This is really gonna happen for me! Or so I thought. First we head to the zoo where again NO GIRAFFES! Of course to pour salt in an open wound my cousin informs that that every time they go to this zoo Brielle gets to feed a giraffe. Good for Brielle. I mean I love her but come on. THIS girl needs some giraffe love. But it’s ok, maybe I won’t get to feed a giraffe but I’m going to the Animal Kingdom really early. Well, if you check out the next shot, all I got is more giraffe ass!

Now it’s later ’07 and we are off to the Bronx Zoo. Hadn’t been there since I was a kid. Very excited. “Oh giraffes are that way”, I tell my mom. “Oh the sign says there is a baby”. Great…..the next picture shows just how exciting these giraffes turned out to be. Instead of getting great pictures of giraffes, I ended the day thinking I may be lunch for some hungry cats. Creeeepy.

These sad and tragic experiences are the reasons why I have deduced that I repel Giraffes. And to be honest, it’s not just giraffes. I also seem to repel Manatees and Alligators. Although repelling Alligators may not be such a bad thing. I’m ok with that one.

I am making a public plea to any giraffe owners out there. If you have a giraffe as a pet as so many people do, please invite me over for a play date! I swear I will not kill your giraffe!

It’s ironic that I’m ending this blog as Jon & Kate plus 8 is on TV and they are at the Zoo. At the Zoo and PETTING A GIRAFFE. Someday my dream will come true. I only have to believe. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to settle for the drive-through safari.

Dreaming of Giraffes,

Jill E.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Confession of a Sci-Fi Geek



This whole blogging thing is new to me. I was never much good at writing and I always thought of it as a chore. To my grandmother’s chagrin, I also absolutely hate to read. My mind is constantly wandering and it takes something truly fabulous to get me to read and actually stay interested. I didn’t even finish Paula Deen’s memoir and if you know me you know how incredibly crazy that is! (Sorry Paula!) But every night without fail, I head to the blog of Mr. Joseph Mallozzi to read about his no-doubt adventure filled day with smoke tents, crazy dogs, and Lamb dinners. Since I have given up my path in TV, I pretend I’m still in that world by reading his stories and having a good chuckle before I head to dreamland.

Mr. Mallozzi not only inspired my blog, but he also has inspired me to come out and admit something about myself that I have kept hidden from almost everyone around me. Not to worry, it doesn’t involve a crime. Unless of course quality TV is a crime. Anyway, today I am going to let the world know that I am a full on sci-fi geek and damn proud of it. JM is the current show runner/EP of my favorite TV franchise which I am going to say out loud….or type out loud….STARGATE! Yes, I watch Stargate! I also watch Battlestar Galactica. How do you like that??? AND, I used to watch Farscape….the one with the puppets! Oh yeah! AND, I have all ten seasons of SG-1, all nine season of the X-Files, and all fours season of Farscape on DVD which I watch on a daily basis. Actually, I’m listening to a Stargate commentary right now from season 9. Loving it!

Laugh if you want, but Sci-Fi television is some of the smartest out there. I have one friend, one, that watches or watched these shows and we met because I asked him a question about a convention. No I have never been to a convention but it’s not because I wouldn’t want to. It’s because I am a cheap bastard and I have no one to go with. (Looking for some pity here.)

Now that I have let the world in on my deep dark secret, I have to take a moment to bitch. I worked on several TV talk shows over the past few years and NONE of them ever had ANY actors from any of my sci-fi shows. I will exclude the X-Files from that I guess because it was on network TV. David Duchovny was on one of the shows and I literally melted into a puddle as he brushed passed me. I mean, Fox Mulder, in the flesh. Anyway, I digress. Why is it that these incredible actors never get exposure for themselves or their shows? There are a lot of sci-fi fans out there. Maybe they are living in hiding like I was but they are out there! I’m waiting for that day to come. We got Letterman, Leno, Martha, Ellen, Kilborne, Tyra freakin’ Banks, blah blah blah none of which will give my shows publicity. I will give Lettermen some credit because he did have the cast of BSG do the Top Ten List when they were in town for the upfronts. Some of the guests on these shows are insanely boring but that seems to be ok with their producers. Oy! I could go on and on but I want to hear the rest of this DVD commentary so I’m gonna sign off.

Be who you are and don’t be ashamed!

I dedicate this entry to the one and only Mr. Joseph Mallozzi!

Peace!

Sci-Fi Addict Jill E.

Friday, May 23, 2008

American Idol Is Like Crack






I was in college when American Idol started. I would hear people talk about some girl from Texas and some kid from Philly with crazy hair but never much cared. Come finale night I thought, hey why not, I’ll give this little show a chance. I remember watching the finale and loving Kelly Clarkson but like so many others, wondering what the hell was the deal with this Justin character???

Come season Two I watched from day one and that’s when the obsession began. The moment I saw that geek from North Carolina sing “Always and Forever” I was hooked! And don’t judge me, yes I love Clay Aiken and no there is nothing wrong with that. My friend Janine and I were both obsessed (I’m not the only one) and would gather together every Tuesday night to watch in awe. It was clearly the highlight of the week. Sadly, come finale night, as I was sitting in the Continental Airlines Arena watching my Devils lose a playoff game, I got a phone call informing me that Ruben had somehow beaten out my Clay to become the second ever American Idol. Don’t even get me started. It still hurts to this day.

As the seasons progressed, despite there not being a contestant anywhere near as fabulous as Clay, I continued to watch religiously. There were quite a few points that I would insist I would never watch again like when Jennifer Hudson got the boot. Alas, I continued because the power of Idol is just too strong. I try to leave but it draws you back in every time.

The American Idol storm just kept on picking up speed spitting out winner after winner with quite a few failures along the way. Come season 6 I had the privilege of working the NJ/NY auditions. I had to take “vacation” time from my real job to be at the arena at 5:00am but nothing was stopping me. Day one was the sign in. Thousands of Idol wannabes running to the tables ready for their audition ticket and wristband. Day two was the cattle call audition where I was bombarded with crazies all thinking THEY were the next American Idol and not taking rejection very well at all. The following days were the mock judge auditions where the lucky few to make it to the next round audition for 3 producers acting as the judges. It was kinda disappointing because not too many people seemed strange UNTIL I watched them on TV in the audition room. Wow. Truly special people. Despite my newly gained knowledge of the manipulation of reality tv, this first-hand experience only renewed my love for this American Idol.

We conclude with this past season, season 7! Not since Clay Aiken have I enjoyed a contestant as much as David Cook. Oh my! Those looks, that confidence, that hair, that sensitivity, that guitar, and of course that voice. I like to think he was singing to me each week! I have no reason to think otherwise. Every week I was waiting for him to get the boot like Chris Daughtry – way before his time – but thankfully it never came to pass. Finale night was oh so stressful for me. I never get that. Why are these kids not nervous and I am peeing my pants at home ready to throw a hissy when MY contestant doesn’t win. Well this year, expecting the worst, I stood on my feet ready to run away when they announced Archie’s name so I wouldn’t have to watch him in celebration. Much to my relief and excitement, it was David Cook’s name that was called. Screams ensued followed by celebrations of dance.

So another Idol year has come and gone and the addiction grows stronger and stronger. I’ve tried to give it up but the force of Idol won’t allow it. The need for it each week gets stronger and stronger.

While I wait for January when we get a new crop of wannabes, I will relive all the Idol glory on YouTube. Thank goodness for YouTube!

For all you other Idol addicts out there – it’s been a good ride. Now who’s gonna buy me my tour tickets? I’m serious!

Call me.

****I just realized I never gave any Simon love in this whole AI blog entry! What would Idol be without Simon Cowell?-----NOTHING! Simon is like a refreshing voice of honesty always saying what I am thinking but no one else has the guts to say. I love it!

Enough said.

Jill E.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All God's Creatures





Other than fish, a bird that lasted about a week, and a bunny that I was semi-afraid of, I never grew up with pets. I fondly remember a traumatic experience with goats on a field trip in second grade that was probably made worse by my previous lacking of animal interaction. As time goes on I am learning not to fear house cats or dogs that I could easily drop kick should one attack me. It’s a slow process but I feel I am making much progress. After a 20 hour drive to Florida with my aunt’s cat crying in the back seat, I feel like we bonded. And then my cousin got a truly insane cat that I actually snuggled with (evidence above). And now I find that my other aunt’s two dogs are like two of my pals. They each have their own wacky and wild personalities.

Bottom line here, I am starting to appreciate and understand animals more than I ever have before. They are far from unintelligent. They understand what’s going on around them. They feel pain both emotional and physical just like we do. They know how to love and get love back in return. My aunt passed away a few months ago and was very sick prior to that. As her illness progressed, her cat’s health declined. He knew what was going on and he died a few weeks before she did. I am certain he died of a broken heart as many humans do when there life long companion passes away.

That being said, why do people think that it is ok to mistreat animals? Why do they think it’s no big deal to abandon a pet to die? Do they think they don’t know what’s going on or that they don’t feel hunger pains? I often watch Animal Planet with my mom and the amount of abuse to animals – for no apparent reason - truly astonishes me. Animals are left outside with no shelter, left with no food, tied to poles for their whole lives and never shown love, used for dog fighting…the list goes on and on. Would you do that to your own child? If you don’t want to take care of a pet then don’t adopt one. If you have one but can’t take care of it, give it to a no-kill shelter or find a loving home. There is no need for this senseless abuse.

On Ellen today, there was a man named Steve McGarva (Pictured above). He’s an artist who was in Puerto Rico when he discovered what the locals had named “Dead Dog Beach”. A beach where people go to abandon there animals. Thousands of dogs are left there with nothing. Since he discovered this beach, Steve has made it his mission to save as many of these animals as possible. www.islanddog.org is Steve’s website. It’s amazing how much of a difference one person can make.

Today I leave you with the wise words of Mr. Bob Barker…."Help control the pet population. Have your pets spay or neutered."

Listen to Bob. He knows what he’s talking about!

Hug your pet.

Jill E.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chocolate










Today’s topic is not quite as profound as the previous but no less meaningful in my life perhaps. That topic is of course – CHOCOLATE! There are those few, including the fabulously southern Clay Aiken, and others who suffer one of the worst injustices, that being an allergy to chocolate. However, the majority of us healthy individuals find it hard to live without chocolate. Really, really hard. I know it’s not just me. Chocolate is all around us and comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, just like us human beings. How can you not love something that reflects who we are as individuals? Referring to the pictures above we have a few examples of chocolate wonder.

For one, chocolate can be made into bars! Who doesn’t love a Snicker or a Caramello or a Twix??? Then of course there is the chocolate for dipping. Relatively new to this area is the chocolate fountain. No more boring old fondue pot in this house. Bring on the waterfall of glorious diabetes waiting to happen. It’s perfect for dipping your variety of fruits and pound cake. Or like Paula Deen, you can just stick your face right in and drink straight from the fountain. Just be careful not to burn your tongue! Next up is the chocolate that candy men feel the need to make into an assortment of real life objects. Who wouldn’t want chocolate in the shape of a wrench? I have a tool box full. Or perhaps chocolate that looks like a band aid. They really do have those. Then of course there is the kind you drink. Hot chocolate! Yum! It’s a meal in a cup. Perfect for those snowy days. Don’t forget the marshmallows! And of course chocolate comes in many colors as well. The somewhat less popular white chocolate comes in an array of beautiful colors from Big Bird Yellow to Oscar Green. I know this to be true because I have Sesame Street plastic candy maker things (yes “things” is the technical term) that you use to make these fabulous colors into the real Big Bird and Oscar. And would you believe it, they have now made chocolate phones!!!!! I can’t believe it!!!! Mine only lasted a week or so before I caved and ate it. Upon being rushed to the hospital I was informed the Chocolate phone is in actual fact not made of chocolate. A law suit is pending. Email me for updates.

Alas, with this many forms of chocolate how can you resist that creamy texture and amazing taste. It’s a perfect remedy for PMS, depression, joy, sadness, excitement, and of course hunger. I’m off to enjoy some cherry Hershey Kisses. To all of you chocolate lovers I leave you with this….. “Hershey’s Chocolate, Hershey’s Chocolate it’s a Hershey’s chocolate world. Wherever you go, no matter how far, you're always near a Hershey bar.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. And to those of you chocolate haters please check the phone book for the nearest psychologist. You are clearly not normal.

Have a Snickerific Day!

Jill E.

(Oh – If you want to relive that fabulous Chocolate World Tour check this out…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-GgmdkGUPI ) I LOVE IT!!!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hatred

It’s 2008 and the amount of hatred in this world sometimes still amazes me. Perhaps I am too na├»ve, perhaps I just am not around it enough, maybe I just ignore it when I see it, whatever the case may be I still am shocked at how unintelligent people still are.

This weekend I participated in my 9th AIDS Walk NY. I can’t remember why I started walking when I was a sophomore in college but I have been walking ever since. Thank God HIV has never affected me personally but it continues to affect millions worldwide…..and not just people in Africa, or drug addicts, or gay people. I walk for the future. I walk so that someday there will be a cure. I walk so that my children will never have to worry about AIDS.

Every year I dread the thought of dragging my fat ass (or lack of ass) out of bed that one Sunday in May. But by the time I get to Central Park I couldn’t imagine not being there. I continue to be amazed by the kindness that each and every AIDS Walk volunteer and staff member show to each and every walker. Unlike other organizations, there is no monetary limit on a walker. I went with a friend one year who hadn’t pre-registered. He just signed up there and gave them $5 and the people couldn’t have been happier. It’s not just about the money. It’s about awareness and community and tolerance and love for one another.

Getting to the point of this rant…… This year I ended up walking alone. It was even more amazing this year because I got to take it all in and truly realize what an amazing event this is. (They raised 7 MILLION dollars this year at AW NY!) I was right up front for the opening ceremonies so I hung on to every word that the speakers spouted out. Each year they have one speaker whose life has been changed for the better by GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis-they run the walk). This year it was a brave man who told his amazing story. It was the first time he publicly admitted not only that he was a gay man, but also that he was HIV Positive. It was so brave and so amazing! Something that god forbid I was in his situation, would never be able to do.

After his speech, and this is the first time this has happened since I have been walking, a man in the crowd started spewing such hatred at this man. I couldn’t believe someone would try to ruin such an amazing event with such ignorance! Sara Ramirez was heading back to the mic and she wouldn’t give this person the satisfaction of putting a damper on the walk or this brave man’s speech and courage.

So to the point…..Why do people hate? Why do people fear what is different?

PEACE

Jill E.